U.S.energy consumption totaled 92.9 quadrillion British thermal units in 2020, a record 7 percent decrease from 2019, according to a June 4 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Renewable energy consumption increased by 2 percent, whereas all other fuels decreased: coal by 19 percent, petroleum by 13 percent, natural gas by 2 percent, and…...
Visual Primer: Rapidly Evolving Cyber Threat Landscape Reignites Concerns About Critical Infrastructure Vulnerability
A recent ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline system, which supplies nearly half the fuel consumed on the East Coast, has elevated concerns about the use of cyberattacks to paralyze key infrastructure. The incident is the latest example of intrusions exposing U.S. cyber vulnerabilities, calling for stronger measures to secure the nation’s energy pipelines and critical infrastructure against increasingly sophisticated and malicious attacks.
Visual Primer: Preserving Existing Nuclear Generation Fleet Expected to Help Drive Clean Energy Transition
Options to sustain the existing nuclear generation fleet have resurfaced as states reevaluate their resource portfolios to expedite the transition to carbon-free energy. Policy support for the resource emerged as a means to stave off plant closures in the face of economic challenges, by rewarding its fuel diversity and zero-carbon attributes.
Washington is moving expeditiously to implement rules and strategies as the state seeks to achieve carbon-free electricity by 2045 and reduce emissions to net zero by 2050. The state is advancing multiple measures ranging from resource planning rules to establishing a carbon cap-and-trade program, and strengthening auto-emission standards.
The Washington legislature on April 24 passed legislation aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by implementing an economy-wide cap-and-invest system. Upon enactment, Washington will become the second state – next to California – to have a comprehensive carbon-pricing program. The state would auction carbon allowances starting in 2023, aligned with the 2030, 2040, and 2050…...
Texas state lawmakers are exploring solutions to address the issues faced during and after the mid-February winter storm event that caused widespread outages across the state. California, which faced a similar predicament due to an unprecedented heatwave in August 2020, albeit smaller in scale and severity, has advanced measures to ensure reliability this summer.
U.S. President Joe Biden on April 22 announced a new target for the U.S. to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52 percent in 2030 relative to 2005 levels. In January, Biden took action to recommit the U.S. to the Paris Climate Agreement, as part of a series of executive actions reflecting his energy agenda…...
Utility resource planning continues to evolve as state regulators take a holistic approach to evaluate the energy delivery process and strive to provide more transparency in the planning process. Carbon reduction is becoming a key component of integrated resource plans (IRPs) amid the influx of distributed energy resources and new renewable generation under various state programs. IRPs provide an evaluation of utilities’ future electricity needs and potential means to meet the requirements.
Visual Primer: Natural Gas Planning Being Reshaped by Policies Centered on Climate-Focused Energy Future
Ongoing state initiatives to transition to a low-carbon future and new actions from the federal level are impacting natural gas utilities’ long-term planning strategies. The challenge for utilities is to adapt to the changing policy landscape, evolving in ways that contribute to decarbonization.
The Ohio legislature on March 25 passed a bill to repeal the provisions of a 2019 law that provided FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., which is now known as Energy Harbor Corp., with annual subsidies of nearly $150 million over seven years to keep its ailing nuclear plants operating. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, is expected…...
Recent progress towards commercializing small modular reactors (SMRs) has sparked interest in the role of advanced nuclear technologies to accomplish decarbonization goals. Twenty states and jurisdictions across the U.S. now have 100 percent clean energy mandates or goals, implying the need for a portfolio of every available carbon-free technology that can be deployed on a timeline compatible with their targets.
The fallout from severe arctic weather during February has prompted regulators from Texas to Montana to examine utility infrastructure, preparedness and response, and impacts to customers. Texas, which experienced the worst power outages resulting from Winter Storm Uri, has issued multiple orders and initiated investigations to address the impacts of the grid event. Following announcements of an inquiry into the grid event and the possibility of market violations, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is now set to examine the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on electric system reliability. Regulators across several U.S. states are investigating the after-effects of the storm to mitigate bill impacts to customers while exploring cost-recovery for utilities which faced extraordinary expenses as natural gas prices soared to unprecedented levels.